Wake in Fright: Australia's Great Lost Film of 1971 Returns
The title Wake in Fright may make you think this is a horror film—screening now because of Halloween. Instead, it's a digitally restored Australian morality tale from 1971—a "lost film" that hasn't been available anywhere, DVD or otherwise, for more than 40 years. It's an almost perfect example of a Joseph Campbell "hero's journey"—a classic story structure with a heroic figure venturing out, leaving his common world, and entering one of "supernatural wonder." The "wonders" our Aussie hero, a schoolteacher, encounters take place in a tiny dusty town in the Australian outback called Bundanyabba—"The Yabba" for short. His adventures begin with gambling and heavier-than-heavy nonstop boozing and then climax with some extra-violent kangaroo hunting, even MORE boozing, then some (gasp!) gay sex. The latter won't shock most, but the kangaroo killing might. It's a realist road movie filled with surreal moments, not unlike the American classic Easy Rider. It'll make you a bit queasy, but it's well worth every minute.